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Burt Yaroch
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Alright, I admit it. I just popped in here to clear out those darn red mugs. But I was intrigued by a few of the threads and eventually committed to reading a majority of them here.

It seemed to me that there are pretty big differences in how each of you perform and percieve gospel magic and I never really did get a feel for what it is. So rather than make assumptions I thought I would just ask.

What is it? Smile
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Scott F. Guinn
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In my opinion, it is nothing more nor less than using a magic effect as an object lesson to teach a Scriptural Truth.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Geoff Williams
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I find it curious that there are few, if any, gospel "stage illusionists." It seems most presentations are limited to close-up and parlour-style.

Considering Andre Kole: he is a Christian and an illusionist but few (if any) of his illusions are gospel-related and most (if not all) of his gospel presentations are of a parlour-style (or even more intimate).
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Burt Yaroch
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Forgive my Philistine thinking here (and I have no notions of starting a debate, this is a question, several questions actually)
but, how do most religions accept the presentation of magic in their places of worship? I mean, here you are suspending beliefs, performing near miracles, wouldn't that be frowned upon? Or, is your presentation such that these effects aren't real magic?

Also is the term Gospel Magic a generic term meaning Religious Magic or is it intended to seperate the sheep from the goats (sorry, that just fit so perfectly I couldn't resist) Smile

(Just so I don't wake to a burning cross in my front yard... what I meant was the term Gospel Magic sounds to me like a Christian undertaking. The sheep and the goats thing is a well know synonym for "differentiating" as is "seperating the wheat from the chaff". Just so there are no misunderstandings.) Smile

Thanks for taking the time to post your reply
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BroDavid
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Rats, since you explained yourself Yak, I will have to put away the lighter fluid and pick up the keyboard. Smile

And Yak, you know if you really wanted to clear all the cups, you can click on (Click HERE to set all messages in this forum as "read") link at the bottom of the forum page. But I am glad you came here, for whatever reason.....

I think Gospel magic has been the traditional label for effects, and illusions that are performed with a Christian (Gospel -the Good News..) message. Many tie to a Biblical principal and many raise up or explain a specific book and verse of Bible text. Typically they are done by Christian Magicians for a Christian audience.

I also think it is possible for Gospel magic to "cross over" into the secular world like Contemporary Christian Music has done, but I don't think it happens very often.

But I think there are other types of application of magic, illusions, and effects by Christians in performance to non-Christian audiences. That genre of magic is also generally described (wrongly - I believe) Gospel Magic.

BroDavid
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Dan Watkins
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Quote:
On 2002-02-21 15:18, yakandjak wrote:
but how do most religions accept the presentation of magic in their places of worship? I mean, here you are suspending beliefs, performing near miracles, wouldn't that be frowned upon? Or is your presentation such that these effects aren't real magic?


Yak,

I had the opportunity to perform in front of a church congregation as entertainment for the evening after a church fellowship dinner. I performed in the sanctuary.

In an environment such as this... I believe that the approach Andre Kole takes is the best one to use. He defines exactly what he means by the word magic, "The art of producing baffling effects or illusions by sleight of hand, concealed apparatus". I make it clear that is what I do, I am using sleight of hand or some concealed methods to entertain and fool your eyes, and that the only one that can perform real miracles is Jesus Christ.

In essence, I establish my faith in Christ, and tell them truthfully what I am doing. I believe this alleviated any questions anyone had about what I was doing and set them free to enjoy the entertainment.

I liked one of the Andre Kole quotes he made at a show I saw of his.... "We need truckloads of equipment to perform our illusions, the only person who ever existed who could walk around only in sandals and perform great miracles is Jesus Christ!"
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Burt Yaroch
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Thanks for the replys guys. Fascinating topic here.

If I may continue it with another question...

Do you then take this same performing approach when you present your magic to the general public?

Why or why not?

It would seem to me that when you confess Smile (for all the Catholics) from the onset that you are concealing apparatus and performing sleight of hand then you have just become a juggler instead of a magician. Frankly I don't see an alternative in such a performing venue so in and of itself that is just fine. The concern it raises, however, is what is that doing for the art of magic as a whole? Or, does this become secondary to a greater concern?

Again, not trying to start a debate. Just trying to understand this new (new to me) perspective. I included my opinion above merely to focus your reply.

Smile Thanks!
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Dan Watkins
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When I perform magic for the general public, I do not say what I am doing other than
"doing magic". If sincerely asked about the issue I don't have any problem with letting them know it is not supernatural, but rather years of practice, and sleight of hand. (I usually do not get into the concealed apparatus part).

I think that most people in today's society know that magic is using sleight of hand or some type of trickery, and not supernatural powers.

My goals are to entertain and astound. And I do so. People draw their own conclusions or lack thereof about how I do what I do. Most don't ask and most have no logical explanation to what they saw. But I don't have a problem at all letting them know it's supernormal instead of supernatural.

As for explaining up front that I am using sleight of hand to a church congregation.... I think it is more help than harm for the art. I rather they know the truth then believe magician entertainers are practicing something antibiblical. In their case, knowledge is very helpful to our art. We have all heard of the restaurant worker being turned away because of those who feel magic conflicts with their religion. Maybe someone in the congregation I performed for felt that way, but learned that it is ok to have that guy perform for them in the restaurant after all.
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Burt Yaroch
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Fantastic perspective Dan. Thanks for that.

Let me step off to play devils advocate for a moment (can I say that in a gospel forum?) Smile because I agree with most of what you are saying.

You explain to a congregational member that what you are doing is just sleight of hand (it could be he/she argues that 99% of them believe this without you stating it outright). This person, at one of your public venues, is then seated next to one of those in the 1% who are truly touched by magic. He leans over and just explains that, by your own admission, you are just performing sleight of hand. Smile We just lost one more.

I guess where I'm going with this is why take your magic to a restrictive venue (such as a church) where you must make such disclosures in the first place. Isn't that against the basic tenets of magic?

Let me help illustrate my point with an analogy. Evander Holyfield is a very devout Christian. But he has never beat the snot outta someone in a congregational exhibition, as it just wouldn't be appropriate. But he is a practicing minister in a church that he built down the street from his Georgia home. Again, I'm not condeming your actions just attempting to understand the Gopsel Magic perspective.

Supernormal. I like that.
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Dan Watkins
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Quote:
On 2002-02-22 16:10, yakandjak wrote:
This person, at one of your public venues, is then seated next to one of those in the 1% who are truly touched by magic. He leans over and just explains that, by your own admission, you are just performing sleight of hand. Smile We just lost one more.

I guess where I'm going with this is why take your magic to a restrictive venue (such as a church) where you must make such disclosures in the first place. Isn't that against the basic tenets of magic?


Hi Yak,

Responding to your two questions quoted above. The first one, I would have to say that I don't believe the ability to truly touch a spectator with magic is dependent on them believing you are supernatural. I don't seek this status with any spectator. To me it's all about the performance and the entertainment. If the spectators are truly entertained and enjoyed the performance - this meets my definition of "touched by my magic".

The admission of using sleight of hand does not diminish this. I am under the assumption that most believe it is skill and trickery we do to decieve the mind.

To summarize, where are/do the motives lay? I aforementioned entertainment. I do not seek to have others believe I am truly supernatural or mystical. It's just not my style, premise, or motivation to perform that way. I don't believe it is a basic tenent of magic to have to make others believe you are supernatural.

As to why perform for a church congregation?

1. I am a Christian.
2. Christians like to have fun and entertainment too Smile
3. I believe in using gifts and talents for the Lord.
4. I was asked to do it by a co-worker who attends the chruch.
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BroDavid
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Great comments Dan!

And a wonderful perspective on why to perform for the Church congregation.

And thanks to you also Yak for some excellent thought provoking questions.

BroDavid
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Steven the Amusing
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Quote:
On 2002-02-22 14:52, Dan Watkins wrote:
My goals are to entertain and astound... As for explaining that I am using sleight of hand to a church ... I think it is more help than harm ... We have all heard of the restaurant worker being turned away because of those who feel magic conflicts with their religion.


I have some good Christian friends who after seeing David Blaine's special were convinced of his use of "supernatural" powers and were very put off by it - this despite the fact that one of them does some pretty good card tricks. However because they trust *me* they now have a different attitude about this topic.

Magic is a natural vehicle to use when dealing with the realm of things that are unseen and inexplicable. However the goal of Gospel Magic is NOT to draw attention to one's self, but to create an object lesson. The trick - if you'll excuse the pun - is to NOT create the appearance that you are doing the things that scripture condemns in order to explain scriptural principles!

One of the best presentations I have ever seen consisted of 35 minutes of jawdropping magic followed by a killer "mentalism" effect. The performer, Billy Riggs, then stated: Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a magician. I have learned how to deceive you with cleverness and skill... but applying all that I know to Jesus's death and resurrection, I know it could not have been a trick.

He then proceeded to explain various theories and debunk them. This, I believe is what Gospel Magic *IS* - or at least should be.
Burt Yaroch
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Very interesting comments all. Thanks for the enlightenment! Smile
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maurile
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What do you call magic that people use to deceive others into believing in miracles? (Evidently, that's not what "Gospel Magic" is. Does it have another name?) One of my friends went to this religious meeting and was completely taken in -- converted -- when they dimmed the lights and started praying for a miracle . . . and got to witness some dancing hankies.

She was absolutely convinced it wasn't a trick.

I've got a problem with people who present magic tricks as supernatural miracles, whether it's Uri Gellar or some cult.
BroDavid
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I couldn't agree with you more maurile,

Using magic tricks to convince people that something supernatural has happned, is certainly not Gospel Magic or Christian in any way.

David Koresh, and Jim Jones used a power (other than God) to decive their followers. And even the founders of some of the popular modern day cults - there are two and I won't name them but you probably know who they are (and they have acheived general respectablility only because they have distanced themselves from their founders ridiculous, often illegal, and frequently bizarre "supernatural" revelations, like miracle wheat, and engraved plates) all use magic to explain what is unexplainable. And unfortunately many are deceived.

Yes, I think it does have another name.
I think it is just what you alluded to, cultism, and deception of the worst kind.

BroDavid
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Burt Yaroch
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Quote:
On 2002-03-03 20:38, maurile wrote:

I've got a problem with people who present magic tricks as supernatural miracles, whether it's Uri Gellar or some cult.


Alright, I'm confused again (that didn't take long did it?)

When, exactly, is magic presented as being from the natural world (other than in a church)?

This is precisely what makes magic magical, that it appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and reason. If the things we did were commonplace or everyday we wouldn't do them. Which is also why I disagree with this notion of presenting magic in any forum that strictly contradicts magic itself. To me it is akin to presenting a laser light show to the Amish. Why bother?

Personally, I don't see how magic subverts any tenet of Christianity that neccessitates it being explained away as slight of hand. Perhaps I missed some chapter and verse.

And is anyone here NOT in a cult?
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Dan Watkins
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Lets look at the definition of supernatural:

Su`per*nat"u*ral, a. [Pref. super- + natural: cf. OF. supernaturel, F. surnaturel.] Being beyond, or exceeding, the power or laws of nature; miraculous.

adj.
1. Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.
2. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.
3. Of or relating to a deity.
4. Of or relating to the immediate exercise of divine power; miraculous.
5. Of or relating to the miraculous.

Someone who claims to actually be supernatural by the very definition infers the ability to perform real miracles, to have divine power, which is to be deity like. To perform magic with this purpose, to create a deified impression of you, is what is at odds with Christianity. It is the power of God alone that can perform miracles and operate in the supernatural.

Performing a magic trick that seems to defy logic, nature, and reason in itself is not bad. It is the purposeful leading of someone else to believe you are indeed supernatural, which is problematic.

You liked my usage of the word supernormal before…… let me define it as well.

supernormal

adj 1: beyond the range of the normal or scientifically explainable; "supernormal intimations" [syn: supranormal]

adj.
1. Greatly exceeding the normal or average but still obeying natural laws.

As can be seen by this definition, it is very possible to perform and entertain and create magic that defies human logic and reasoning, that is what magic trickery is about. Magic and Mystery does not have to go hand in hand with allowing people to believe you are operating in the supernatural.

The bottom line is I don't claim to be God like, only supernormal and entertaining to boot.
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Burt Yaroch
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Thanks again for the enlightenment Dan. You have a great perspective!

Smile
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maurile
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Quote:
On 2002-03-03 22:02, BroDavid wrote:

Using magic tricks to convince people that something supernatural has happned, is certainly not Gospel Magic or Christian in any way.


Support for this idea goes back at least as far as 1584, when Reginald Scot wrote in his book, The Discoverie of Witchcraft, that conjurers should "abuse not the name of God nor make the people attribute onto them his power, but always acknowledge wherein the art consisteth."
Burt Yaroch
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Wherein also can be found the first detailed treatise on card magic.

Should I have started that with,"It's a little known fact..."?
Yakworld.
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